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The Wines

60-70% Roussanne (1980) on Les Esqueirrons (N-W), 25-40% Bourboulenc (1980), 2% Grenache blanc, Clairette blanche on 1 hectare on Les Bosquets (N), varieties fermented apart, raised together, 67-75% steel vat, 25-33% 1-4 year 600-litre Stockinger oak cask raised 6-8 months, malo usually blocked, “the Stockinger always gives more freshness than the steel, so we may raise the oak proportion above 33%,” 2,100-4,000 b

2018

firm yellow; petrol airs feature in a broad nose that carries 2018 vintage depth, roast nuts, aniseed – it’s well together. The palate links well, is also well filled, a real thorough Châteauneuf, firm and full, shows white fruits, tobacco late on. It’s close to the structure of a red wine. The oily texture is good and Southern. It has definite heart, and is very much for la table. It glows on the aftertaste. Decant it, and there’s also no hurry to get on with it. Bottled early April 2019. “We harvested the Roussanne on 3 September, the Bourboulenc on 1 October, the yield 18 hl from the hectare,” Sophie Armenier, so there is a measly 2,100 bottles this year. 2036-38 May 2019

2017

yellow colour; the bouquet is into exotic fruit airs, mango-pineapple, has a nice liquid, upbeat style to it. The palate glides along with cool white fruits, summons appealing gras on the second half, has a good liberal flow. This has a silken texture, and there are no skips of beat along its path. It’s more elegant than the 2018. There are good salt notes on the close. “It has belle freshness, bizarrely, given the vintage. This was the earliest we have ever harvested – we started with the Roussanne on 24 August – the 2003 started on 28 August. We picked the Bourboulenc on 14 September,” Sophie Armenier. 14.5. 2,100 b. 2034-36 May 2019

2016

shiny yellow robe. This has a broad, refined bouquet, brioche baked bread, a murmur of cooked lemon; it’s not overtly fruited, maybe discreet peach here. It’s deep enough for a good table setting. The palate holds enjoyable, fluid gras richness, works on several layers of flavour such as peach and tangerine, keeps delving into the basket and finding more. The finish is firm, rounded, with tobacco smoke, grip there, an underlying nuttiness. It’s not quite there yet, can evolve with interesting, varied results. Decanting advised. 14.5°. From spring 2018. 2025-27 Dec 2017

2015 ()

pale yellow robe. The bouquet has an oiliness of depth – it is supple and nicely fresh at the same time, comes with vanilla-oak in the mix. There are airs of greengage, white plum, some aniseed, dried fruits. The palate sets off with stylish white fruits, holds really cosy and enjoyable gras richness, runs with a beautiful steady hand, all in velvet. It builds a tiny spot of extra depth and a touch of tannic grip as it ends. This is well balanced, aromatic and very fine. 14°. 4,000 b. 2025-27 Nov 2016  GB £335 12 b in bond H2Vin www.h2vin.co.uk

2014 ()

pale yellow robe. The nose is attractively broad, comes all in a restrained register, has airs of apricot, white fruits, nuts. This is en finesse white Châteauneuf: it offers a joli caress of white fruits, with light spicing towards the finish. This has glycerol, inner depth. It ends on lavender, infused tea in a restrained way. 14.5°. 2023-24 GB £320 12 b in bond H2Vin www.h2vin.co.uk Nov 2015

2013 ()

pale yellow, flinty colour. There is a jaunty southern roundness in the bouquet, airs of apricot, a note of banana, also white tobacco. The palate also expresses open fat, has gras richness every which way. This is a spherical wine, bears stone fruits and evokes summer days. The finish is correct – more on gras than freshness. Can be decanted. It is a food wine, especially given its degree at 14.5° plus. Won’t hurt to let it lie until late 2015. 70% Roussanne, 30% Bourboulenc. £300 12 b in bond H2Vin GB www.h2vin.co.uk – too expensive in my view. 2021-23 Nov 2014

2012

fine yellow robe, green smudges in it. Honey, passion fruit, white fruits aroma with a small note of reduction, spots of vanilla and ginger – there is good, safe depth in the bouquet. The palate fires off on a winning white fruit such as peach and nectarine, with pepper and notably ginger seasoning. The aftertaste is tangy, with a depth of orange marmalade. It finishes quietly, is still en route to its destination. Good wine that can live, and is suited to la table. It is up to monkfish, firmly flavoured, textured fish, soft cheese, quiche. The finale is round and squeezy. A good variety of stimuli here. 14.5°. 2023-25  Oct 2013

2011

pale robe. Has a smoke, flint nose of some substance, shows silex-flint, spreads across the glass. There is an interesting, delicate spot of central apricot with vanilla and licorice also here. The palate is attractive, full, expressive with a southern glow in it, good length. Deserves food such as turbot. There is a good little late glint, cut. Classy and true to its place. After a centre flavour of dried fruits, there is a note of nut on the exit. 14.5°. 2022-23  Sept 2013  Previously Dec 2012 ***(*) pale yellow. The nose offers wax and menthol airs – it has a sound foundation, shows style. There is a dusty pear angle, and a low-key glow from warm outcrops, a local splash. The palate has a rolling, agreeable run of dried fruits, a peach stone flavour, ending on aniseed and licorice – good cut shows there in its rather elegant matter. Good, faithful Châteauneuf, even though there is a bit of heat and burn from the vintage – this needs foods. The nose will vary well, and the palate shows gras. 14.5°. 66% R, 34% B, bottled April 2012, 4,000 b this year. Good but expensive at €40. 2019-20  Dec 2012  Previously Sept 2012 **** pale yellow; salty, iodine, fresh top air, smoky dried fruits present. The attack is brisk, assertive. This is nice and full, has an enjoyable gourmandise, offers plenty, is curvy. It closes firmly and well, showing honey and nut. Stylish white Châteauneuf. 2019-21  Sept 2012

2010

mild yellow robe; lovely fragrance – licorice, fennel, lime tart, aniseed – very varied and subtle. Excellent attack, has real good width and gentle expansion, an effortless richness and a silken texture. Balance good, has fine acidity. A beauty. “Its balance will help it, so it could live for around 12 years, but expect it to close around 2013,” Sophie Armenier. 70% R, 30% B this year, 25 hl/ha, double the yield for the reds. 2021-22 March 2011

2009

pale, flinty robe. The nose is forward – out it comes, with peach, honey, apricot – there is lots in it, it really declares. The palate continues well, is harmonious. Plenty of depth, but it is also clear and precise despite its relative power, ending on a note of melted honey. The length keeps going, has a lovely texture – this is very inviting, serene wine. It is very good now, note, but can also show well over time. Best with food. 14.5°. 70% R 30% B this year, also aided by a new cooling system that was completely redone in time for this vintage. 2018-20 Oct 2010

2008 ()

(near final wine, for bottling in two months) flint, pale yellow. Honey, baked apple, pear drop – there is a gentle curve on this bouquet. The palate has an elegant filling, is nutty towards the finish, has the usual grace from this domaine. A fine wine, with quiet body. Time will help it – drink from 2010. 2015-16. 80% Roussanne (malo not done), 20% Bourboulenc (malo completed) this year. March 2009

2007 ()

nicely wide bouquet – bonbon sweets, cooked white fruits. The palate is a bundle of dried white fruits, with late grip and a fine depth. 2016-17 March 2009

2006 ()

mid-level, assured yellow robe, with legs down the glass. The bouquet is creamy, with a touch of exotic fruit such as guava, some ripe pear and bonbon – it is well sealed in a comfortable slipper-like roundness, is an interesting do. The palate is rich, with elegant finesse – it does more on the start than the finish. There is a secure inset of white stone fruit, and a little shimmer of power or alcohol. The texture is silken – this rolls along well. Plum eau de vie, with some sweetness on the finish. A shade less degree would help, but with food this is absorbed. Veal in sauce, smoked haddock, lobster thermidor – good with this. 14.5°. 2014-16 October 2008

2005 ()

yellow colour; brioche, baked fruit aroma that is profound and well set. Palate gains weight as it goes. Has a ripe taste of white plums with some exotic fruits such as pineapple. The finish is live though quite rich, too, length is good. Funky and interesting around 2009-10. 2014-16 Dec 2006

2003

full, flamboyant aroma and palate: buttery flavour with a lovely sphere in the shape. Broad and interesting wine, without excess heat from this vintage. 2010-12 March 2005

1999 ()

(vat) fresh nose, subtle, restrained, creamy fruit airs in it. The palate is mid+ weight, offers elegance and nice grip, sound length. The Roussanne-Bourboulenc mix half each is an unusual combination, so this white has a different style as a result. Vinified apart due to their different moments of ripening. To be bottled end April. 2007-10 Feb 2000

1998

greengage, lime, white fruits and flowers with some SO2 hovering. The palate is a measured do – there is light fruit, fruit skin flavour that dries a little towards the finish. Light, elegant style – it is just shutting up shop now. It shows some weight, then rather fades. Revert in 2002-03. 2009-11 Feb 2000

1997 ()

honeyed rounded aroma, with some freshness. Creamy, agreeable palate that floats along, sustains well. Chewy towards the finish – this can keep going. 2007-09 Feb 2002

1990

pale colour; the bouquet is rounded, has fair depth, the fruit aroma quite solid. The palate has nice weight, is pretty well measured, needs a bit of time to settle. The length is good, and it’s clean enough, shows some heat, intrinsic power. The flavour centres on dried fruits. 13.4°. 10,000 b. 40% Clairette, 40% Bourboulenc, 20% Grenache blanc, with Roussanne introduced from 1991. Enamel vat fermented at 17-18°C, the usual 20 days a lot longer in 1990, ending in Feb 1991. Malo blocked. Usually the white is raised until December over a year after the harvest, but this was bottled late March, 1991. 2004-06 July 1991

1988 ()

quite a pale yellow colour; there is a note of citrus on the nose which is edging out into the daylight, carries mixed aromas, a hint of advance off very first youth. The palate is good, carries some freshness, has a likeable apricot, mixed dried fruits flavour. It’s in its calm moment now, just caught between youth and the second stage. The weight is fair, the 1990 more weighted. This is delicate in its way. 2002-04 July 1991